Mobile personal financial apps are used on smartphones and tablet devices (Android, iPhone/iPad, Windows phones) and the apps are often used in conjunction with online or desktop personal finance software (the app and software share data). This is because mobile apps won’t usually let you do a lot of financial planning due to the smaller footprint they take up on your mobile device.
The idea is to do heavy budget set up, spending analysis and other good stuff on your desktop or online software. Don’t want to do all that heavy lifting? There are mobile apps out there for you that work great on their own.
In general, you can use mobile personal finance apps to enter transactions into your accounts to track spending and account balances, check bank balances and to see if you’re in danger of overspending in an area of your budget. If you enter transactions or classify them for budgeting purposes, your entries will synchronize with an online app or a desktop app (Quicken and You Need a Budget offer this) that’s associated with the mobile app.
There are a multitude of mobile apps that go beyond managing spending and financial accounts, though. Check the Google Play Store or iTunes and you’ll find apps for splitting bills with roommates, help with finding real estate or rentals, figuring out what loan terms are affordable, and much more.
Major banks have some great mobile apps that let you pay bills, send money to people and scan and deposit checks, all from your smartphone. I use an app from Chase bank and I’ve been depositing checks from home for months – love the convenience.
For security purposes, only download these apps to your mobile device from Google Play or iTunes, and keep them updated as soon as your mobile device notified you that an update is available. Always sign out of the app when you’re done using it, although it should automatically log you off after a couple of minutes of inactivity.
Difficult to Use?
Since mobile apps are designed to do a few tasks (compared to desktop or online money management tools) for convenience and due to limited screen space, they are easy to use. If you don’t like a mobile app, it’s easy enough to uninstall it and try another.
While there are a lot of free mobile apps, they are usually used along with a desktop or online financial software app. Mobile apps that operate on their own often cost $2 or $3, although there are a few apps with quite a few features that cost over $10.